How Rum Became An Irish Drink

Repeating Islands


The Caribbean’s Celtic history goes back hundreds of years to the region’s cane sugar fields. A report by Wayne Curtis for The Daily Beast.

This St. Patrick’s Day, on an island known as the Emerald Isle, businesses will shutter for the day, residents will don green tartan, streets will fill with music and dance, rum punch and green beer will be served by the fathom, and the competition for the island’s junior calypso champion and soca monarch will get real.

I refer, of course, to the island of Montserrat — the nickname, more fully, is the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. It’s arguably the most Gaelic island between Ireland and Manhattan.

How it came to be this way traces an intriguing arc of history, dotted with cameos by sugar and rum.

The green invasion of the West Indies took root on the far side of the Atlantic in the…

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